We have now updated all of our state coaching leader lists through the 2017 seasons for both baseball and softball. Here is a snapshot look at some of the major coaching accomplishments achieved during the 2016-17 school year in all five of the sports we primarily cover. We wrote up this post with thoughts of former Belmont Carlmont softball coach Jim Liggett in mind. Liggett, the state’s winningest softball coach by a wide margin, died on June 3 at age 76.
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(All coaches listed in alphabetical order)
Ed Azzam (Westchester, Los Angeles)
Boys Basketball. Moved to No. 3 on all-time list. Team later went to CIF L.A. City Section championship game.
Sam Blalock (Rancho Bernardo, San Diego)
Baseball. Moved to No. 2 on all-time list. Retired after the season with 946 reported wins.
Steve Denman (Tehachapi)
Football. Won 300th game. Only the eighth to reach 300 in state history.
Rob Gilster (Valley Center)
Football. Won 200th game. Began career at Orange Glen (Escondido).
Andy Hall (Wilson, Long Beach)
Baseball. Won 500th game. Also has coached at St. Anthony of Long Beach.
Brian Harrigan (St. Francis, Mountain View)
Girls Basketball. Won 700th game. Not returning to school next year.
Kevin Kiernan (Mater Dei, Santa Ana)
Girls Basketball. Won 700th game. Team later played in CIF D2 state final.
Harvey Kitani (Rolling Hills Prep, San Pedro)
Boys Basketball. Joined select group by winning CIF state title at a second school. Needs just 13 wins next season to reach 800.
Jim Kunau (Rancho Christian, Temecula)
Football. Won 200th game. Most wins at Orange Lutheran. Rancho Christian later won CIF D6AA state title.
Mike Murphy (Sonora, La Habra)
Boys Basketball. Won 600th game. Also has wins from Southern California Christian.
Margaret Neill (Paraclete, Lancaster)
Softball. Moved to No. 2 on all-time state list.
Mike Noel (Clovis)
Softball. Won 600th game. Team later won CIF Central Section D1 title for second time in three years.
James Patrick (Clovis)
Baseball. Won 700th game. Team later won CIF Central Section D1 title.
John Perez (Carnegie, Riverside)
Softball. Won 500th game. His first 491 wins at previous school Corona Santiago.
Rick Robinson (Norco)
Softball. Won 500th game. Team was No. 1 in the nation until losing in CIF Southern Section D1 final.
Darol Salazar (Palm Desert)
Baseball. Won 600th game. Team later played for CIF Southern Section D2 title at Dodger Stadium.
Chuck Shidan (Sanger)
Football. Won 200th game. Team later won CIF Central Section D2 title and lost only game of season to San Mateo Serra in NorCal bowl game.
Jeff Stout (Yucaipa)
Baseball. Won 800th game. Retired after the season with 811 reported wins.
Rick Thompson (Carnegie, Riverside)
Girls Basketball. Won 500th game. His first season there after years at Norco.
Mary Jo Truesdale (Sheldon, Sacramento)
Softball. Won 600th game in California. Team later won third straight CIF Sac-Joaquin Section D1 title.
Dave White (Edison, Huntington Beach)
Football. Moved past 15 coaches on all-time state list in final season as Chargers went 13-2 and won CIFSS Division III title.